By Arab News
Saudi Arabia on Monday announced its plan to sign a nuclear cooperation agreement with China. The Cabinet said it has authorized Hashim Yamani, president of the King Abdullah City for Nuclear and Renewable Energy, to hold talks with Chinese officials to reach a deal for peaceful use of atomic energy.
The new move comes after the Kingdom signed its first ever nuclear treaty with France in February. Yamani, who signed that agreement, said it would pave the way for the Kingdom’s long-term plans to build power stations utilizing alternative energy sources to produce electricity and water.
The agreement allows the two countries to cooperate in the fields of production, use and transfer of knowledge regarding the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
Saudi Arabia has decided to make use of alternative resources such as atomic, solar, geothermal and wind power to meet its growing energy requirements.
Power demand is forecast to increase by 8 percent annually in the Kingdom. Demand for electricity in Saudi Arabia is expected to triple by 2032, which will give rise to the need for energy plants with a total of 80 gigawatts of installed capacity.
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, who chaired the Cabinet meeting at Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh, briefed the ministers on the outcome of his talks with US Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the content of a letter he received from Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa.
The Cabinet discussed the latest developments in some Arab countries. It also welcomed the GCC’s call on the Yemeni government and opposition to meet in Saudi Arabia for talks aimed at reinforcing peace and stability in the country and achieving the hopes and aspirations of the Yemeni people.
The Cabinet also welcomed the statements made by the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the Muslim World League condemning Iran’s interference in the internal affairs of GCC countries.
It denounced Israel’s airstrikes on Palestinians in Gaza and its decision to construct more Jewish settlements in occupied Jerusalem. The Cabinet urged the international community to pressure Israel to stop its crimes against the Palestinians and protect their rights.
Referring to an international dialogue conference held in Azerbaijan, the Cabinet reiterated the Kingdom’s commitment to promote world peace and cited in this respect King Abdullah’s efforts in initiating an interfaith and cultural dialogue.
Culture and Information Minister Abdul Aziz Khoja said the Cabinet took a number of other important decisions. It authorized Prince Naif, second deputy premier and minister of interior, to sign an agreement with Yemen for the transfer of convicts; approved an MOU signed with Sudan for cooperation in Islamic affairs and endowments; and endorsed a pact with Tunisia to prevent double taxation and avoid tax evasion.
The Cabinet appointed Salim Al-Faar and Mansour Abdullah as ambassadors at the Foreign Ministry; Saleh Al-Hammad director of the minister’s office at the Ministry of Economy and Planning; and Fahd Al-Ruwais administrative consultant at the Ministry of Culture and Information.